innocent eye

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A term used by Gombrich and the American philosopher Nelson Goodman (1906–98) to refer to a common assumption that images do not need to be read, whereas Gombrich stressed ‘the beholder's share’: ‘reading an image, like the reception of any other message, is dependent on prior knowledge of possibilities; we can only recognize what we know.’ He added that ‘the innocent eye is a myth’ and Goodman commented that ‘The innocent eye is blind and the virgin mind empty.’ The viewer is cognitively active, not passive. See also active audience theory.

http://www.gombrich.co.uk/ Gombrich archive

Subjects: Media Studies.

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